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I have been back from Italy for exactly nine days, not including today.

There are moments when it is unfathomable to me how easily we can slide from one life to another. A month ago yesterday I slid into Italy, landing in Pescara and then driving (yes, I drove a car in Italy) out of Abruzzi and into Le Marche. Sliding up, up, up into the hills outside Ascoli, Piceno.

And that night I slid into my bed in the house where my father and all my aunts and uncle were born. They were actually born in there. In that very house. And it looks like a completely different house now but it’s still that very same house.

And just like that, after three weeks, I slid right back into Toronto. I remember thinking, the afternoon after I returned, that today I am walking on University Avenue in Toronto on my way to Bloor Street and yesterday morning I was driving on the Autostrada Adriatica (A14) on my way back to the airport.

It is breathtaking and confounding and thrilling how easy it is to slide from one city to the other, from one country to the other, from one life to the other.

I have many stories to tell about my trip. Most of them I won’t tell because they are mine and they belong to me and I will gather them to me and hold them dear. Not all things are meant to be shared.

But some stories I will tell, just not today.

Today I want to tell you about a few words. Have you ever heard a word, a new word, and then suddenly you hear it all the time?

In Italy, for the first time, I heard the word ristoro, which means restoration. I heard it used during a running race that I watched one night in Castel di Lama. After the race, the runners could go to the restauro for much-needed liquids and food. (Note: Thanks to Chamki of La Mia Cucina in India who corrected my use of the word “ristoro”!!!)

I also heard the word sosta, which means stop, but can also be used to in the sense of stopping for a break.

And suddenly, for three weeks, I heard the words ristoro and sosta everywhere. I remarked how funny it was that at 36, and after having been to Italy many times, it was so strange to suddenly know these words for the first time.

One day, I thought to myself that these were good words to know because that is what my trip was for me.

Una sosta. Un restauro.

We all need to pause sometimes. My pause was a beautiful one. And now I’m back.

Ciao.